Excessive hair growth can be removed by a variety of cosmetic treatments

Information on hirsutism and hair removal treatments
Cosmetic hair removal
Laser hair removal
Oral contraceptives
Cyproterone acetate
GRH analogs

Cosmetic Hair Removal for Hirsutism

While drug treatments, laser removal, or electrolysis can provide a long term answer to hirsutism, several cosmetic options are available. Cosmetic hair removal does not provide long term relief from excess hair. The results are only short lived and have to be repeated regularly to maintain a lack of hair. However, the main advantage is that they can be applied at home quickly and easily. In addition, cosmetic hair removal methods are cheap and widely available.


Most women are rather reluctant to shave excess hair – particularly on the face. Shaving is perhaps seen as a very male thing to do. However, shaving is one of the quickest, cheapest and most effective ways of removing facial hair. Where the hair growth in the beard and moustache are modest the results from shaving can be very good. The main disadvantage is that the hair quickly regrows so shaving has to be done on a regular basis. One of the main disadvantages of shaving is seen in people with sensitive skin. Shaving can cause a rash on sensitive skin. In addition, shaved hair may become ingrown. This is more of a problem with shaving hair on the legs, but ingrown hair can occur elsewhere too. Because of this, it is worth shaving just a small area first of all and leaving it a couple of days to see if any problems develop before shaving large areas.

There is a popular myth that shaving makes hair grow thicker. In fact this is not true and several studies have been done to prove it. The confusion is due to the fact that shaving cuts of the fine tips of hair to leave stubble. Stubble is short and thick and so very noticeable when you rub your fingers over it. But in terms of hair growth rates and hair thickness, shaving does not actually change anything.


Bleaching facial hair, and sometimes body hair, is a popular approach to hiding hirsutism for light skinned individuals. The bleaching is intended to reduce the color contrast between the hair fiber and the skin. The less contrast in color, the less visible the hair is. In addition, the bleaching makes the hair somewhat softer. Bleaching also has some side effect risks, again mainly for those with sensitive skin where irritation from the bleaching chemicals can occur. For dark skinned individuals bleaching is usually more of a disadvantage as it can actually increase the color contrast between the hair fiber and the surrounding dark skin.

Chemical depilation

Chemical depilatories can be an effective way to remove hair and the results last longer than with shaving. In essence, the chemicals are very alkaline in nature. The alkaline chemicals weaken the hair fiber so that it breaks off a little below the skin surface when the cream is rubbed or washed away. Again, one of the main risks is to those with sensitive skin. The chemicals can be irritating to the skin – more so on the face than the arms or legs. Ingrown hair can also be a problem for some people after using chemical depilatories.


Plucking hair to remove can work quite well. Small areas may be individually plucked with tweezers. Larger areas of hair can be plucked using battery operated epilators that mechanically pluck the hair. The result can be very good. However, one of the main disadvantages of plucking hair is that it will grow back and sometimes it can grow back thicker than it was before. Plucking hair injures the hair follicles. Sometimes the follicles can respond by growing a new and thicker hair fiber. For small hair follicles like those of the eyebrows, after a few plucks the hair follicles can become damaged enough that they stop growing. However, bigger, thicker follicles like those on the legs are usually big and strong enough to keep growing even after repeated plucking.

Threading is a particular form of hair plucking. Some cosmetics salons now offer this. Threading involves passing twisted threads across the skin such that the catch hair between the threads which is then plucked. It’s a quick way to pluck hair and in experienced hands it can be a good way to remove smaller hairs on the face.

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